Art and all that bullshit… – Art, Artists and Paintings a review by Goff James


Goff James, Victims, 2018

“The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”

Jerzy Kosinski


©Jeff Frost, California On Fire, Detail – Video(2min.04sec.)2016, part of visual installation/Photography Exibition entitled Beyond the Air We Breath, MOCA Bangkok

“A picture is a poem without words”



© Ansel Adams, Moon And Half Dome, 1960, Image Source –

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it”

Ansel Adams

When one thinks and speaks of Art, the first and broadest sense is the one that remains close to the older Latin word “tecnicus” meaning, which roughly translates to “skill”, “craft” or “technique”. Whereas the Greek word τέχνη “techně” is often mistranslated as “art,” but implies mastery of any sort of craft.

Consequently Art and Form can be viewed as a “holistic all embracing one” and the impact it might or might not have on the psyche of the instigator or the onlooker.

Mother and Child 1934 by Dame Barbara Hepworth 1903-1975

Dame Barbara Hepworth
Mother and Child 1934
© Bowness

“Sculpture is not the mere cutting of the form of anything in stone; it is the cutting of the effect of it.”

John Ruskin

Mobile c.1932 by Alexander Calder 1898-1976

© Alexander Calder
Mobile c.1932, private collection, Image Source –

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Thomas Merton

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Artistic Representation – The processes of conceptualizing, visualizing, interpreting and creating…

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Goff James, Untitled, 2013

“Art cannot be modern. Art is primordially eternal.”

Egon Schiele


Hand Print Painting, Leang Pettakere, C.35,000 BCE,

Image Credit – Unstated

Source –

Link – Hand Print Painting

“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.”

Victor Pinchuk

Conceptualizing, visualizing, interpreting and creating through image making is primevally basic for art and the artistic process. Such images were created in the period before the invention of formal writing, and when human populations were migrating and expanding across the globe. The first human artistic representations, markings with ground red ochre, seem to have occurred about 100,000 B.C. in African Rock Art. This chronology may be more an artefact of the limitations of archaeological evidence than a true picture of when humans first used form to create art.

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Rock Art, Blombos Cave, South Africa, c.100,000-77,000 BCE

Image Credit – Unstated

Source –

LinkBlombos Cave

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

Henry Ward Beecher


Cueva de las Manos, Perito Moreno, Argentina, c.13,000–9,000 BCE

Image Credit – Unstated

Source –

Link – Cueva de las Manos

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”

Jackson Pollock


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Semantics, Syntax and Pragmatism – The processes of finding order…


Goff James, He, 2018

“Uncritical semantics is the myth of a museum in which the exhibits are meanings and the words are labels. To switch languages is to change the labels.”

Willard Van Orman Quine


Barbara Kruger,
Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989

Image Credit © Barbara Kruger


“Each person is an idiom unto himself, an apparent violation of the syntax of the species.”

Gordon W Allport


Thomas Hirschorn, Too Too – Much Much, 2010 (Installation – Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens)

Image Credit © Thomas Hirschhorn / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY


“A photograph shouldn’t be just a picture, it should be a philosophy.” 

Amit Kalantri

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John Baldessari, Two Whales (With People), 2010

Image Credit © John Baldessari


Through analysis, comparison, symbolism and emphasizing of the visual elemental composition of  art forms enables humans to possess the essential mechanisms of perceiving, comprehending, understanding and interpreting. The relevant  extracted data is then set out in terms of measured quantities and the found order is expressed in the individual’s analysis of the differing relationships of the inherent structures of that particular form. Whether through communicating using semantic, syntactic or pragmatic processes.

“Humans see what they want to see.”

Rick Riordan

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Marcel Duchamp
1917, replica 1964

Image Credit © Succession Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP Paris and DACS, London 2018


“All that can fall within the compass of human understanding, being either, first, the nature of things, as they are in themselves, their relations, and their manner of operation: or, secondly, that which man himself ought to do, as a rational and voluntary agent, for the attainment of any end, especially happiness: or, thirdly, the ways and means whereby the knowledge of both the one and the other of these is attained and communicated;…”

John Locke

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Umberto Boccioni. Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913 (cast 1931)

Image Credit © Umberto Boccioni, MoMA, Photograph © Unstated


Further Reading

Semantics and Art

Pragmatism and Art

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Sorting, Sifting and Organizing – The process of visualisation…


Goff James, She, 2012


“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth


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Tripod Bowl
Artist Unknown (Costa Rica) c.800-1200 © Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College

Tripod Bowl

“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr


Artist Unknown, Incised Pattern, c.70,000 BCE, South Africa,          Image Credit Unstated

Blombos Cave, South Africa

It is through the human brain’s capacity and ability to handle intricate processes of sorting, sifting and organizing visual stimuli that men and women are enabled to achieve insight into the ordered inter-relationships of their environment and consequently the manner in which they respond to the visual impulses received from without. It is this three fold process and inter-linking between the elements; interaction, interpretation and response that enables human’s to attempt to discern and to make a statement about, the processes of the nature of things and their intense variations in all their passive and dynamic moods.

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Artist Unknown, Nordic Bronze Age rock art Bohuslän, Sweden c. 2nd millennium BCE

Rock Art

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will”

George Bernard Shaw

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Artist Unknown, Hand Prints, Sulawesi, Indonesia c. 38,000 BCE,        Image Credit © Paul Taçon


Hand Prints

“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.”

Stephen Covey

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Time, Motivation, Passion, Action – The process of instigation…

Welcome to Conversation Corner


Goff James, Trace, 2015

“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.”



Arrival or departure of a young warrior or hero, detail of an Apulian krater, c. 410–400 BCE.


“It seems that if you put people on paper and move them through time, you cannot help but talk about ethics, because the ethical realm exists nowhere if not here: in the consequences of human actions as they unfold in time, and the multiple interpretive possibility of those actions.”

Zadie Smith

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991 by Cornelia Parker born 1956

Cornelia Parker
Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991 
© Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker

Human actions can be motivated by religion, politics or merely by the inner passion to create and serves mirror-like as a reflection of a particular moment in time. Whatever the particular individual circumstances are; image making requires a personal, intellectual or emotional discourse between the instigator and their environment. Artists utilize particular techniques and methods, sometimes perfecting them or even inventing completely new ones, however without spiritual individuality, image making could not achieve anything other than just being kitsch.


Rowan Gillespie “Freedom” Bronze,

Rowan Gillespie

“Between the art and the artist there is no distance.”

Attributed to Rowan Gillespie

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Vasan Sitthiket V40, Installation, 2016

Vasan Sitthiket V40, Installation, 2016

“Art is the desire of [humans] to express [themselves], to record the reactions of [their personalities} to the world [they live] in.”

Amy Lowell

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Desire, Power, Expression – The process of recognition and reassemblage…

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Goff James, Woman with Dog, 2012

“Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.”

Ken Robinson

Nude 1960 by Auguste Herbin 1882-1960

Auguste Herbin
Nude 1960
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018

Auguste Herbin

“It’s impossible to explain creativity. It’s like asking a bird, ‘How do you fly?’ You just do.”

Eric Jerome Dickey


Burkina Faso; Bwa peoples
Luruya (mask)
Wood, pigment, fiber
H. 81.28 cm (32″)
University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1990.633

Luruya (mask)

The creative desire and the artisans’ power of expression is pandemic across the globe. Possessing varying influences that have regard of ethnological and geographical factors as well as societal development of different “civilization’s” cultures and ethnicities. Such influences can be archaic, academic or abstract.

Symbolism, from whichever source, reflects this creativity. The word “symbol” itself derives from the Latin symbolum, a symbol of faith, and symbolus, a sign of recognition, in turn from classical Greek συμβόλον symbolon, an object cut in half constituting a sign of recognition when reassembled.

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Roy Lichtenstein (1923–97), Indian with Pony, 1953. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Print Committee 83.11. © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

“It is through symbols that man consciously or unconsciously lives, works and has his being.”

Thomas Carlyle


Jompet Kuswidananto, Indonesia, Java Phantasmagoria, 2008, kinetic sound and video installation. Photograph Iola Lenzi. Enter a caption

Jompet Kuswidananto

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Hans Hofmann

Pompeii 1959 by Hans Hofmann 1880-1966

Hans Hoffman, Pompeii 1959
© The estate of Hans Hofmann

Hans Hoffman, Pompeii 1959

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Creativity, visual style, representation and symbolism – The process of perception and interpretation…

Welcome to Conversation Corner


Goff James, Untitled, 2018

“Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” 

Orson Welles

Image property of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Jackson Pollock, Convergence, 1952 ©

Jackson Pollock

“Be drawn to the visual arts for it can expand your imagination.”

Barbara Januszkiewicz


Andrew Rogers, A Day On Earth, 2009 ©

Andrew Rogers

Humans appear neither content nor satisfied with visual representation being a mere symbol. The human intellectual process which involves perception and interpretation of an image and requires more than a constructed isolated diagram of his interpretation of the mind’s image. Individuals, significantly at some point and somewhere early in the mists of prehistory discovered; whether by chance, by accident or deliberate intent to develop a means of marking witness to their existence and apparent values.


“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

Edgar Allan Poe

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Indonesian Cave Art,  Photograph: Kinez Riza/University of Wollongong/PA,

“What art is, in reality, is this missing link, not the links which exist. It’s not what you see that is art; art is the gap.”

Marcel Duchamp

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Art, Form and Reality. Fact or Fiction?…

Welcome to Conversation Corner


Goff James, Untitled, 2018

Welcome to Conversation Corner

“In order for any thing to exist, there must also be not that thing.”

Morty Lefkoe

“We perceive our existence in space and time; we are here now and life is current but in this world where technology is constantly advancing, human nature is not. It is often the values of the past that are most relevant today.”

Andrew Rogers 


“Ancient Language,” 2004, Atacama Desert, Chile.
Photograph © Andrew Rogers

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Standing Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, c. 8th–9th century,Thailand (Buriram Province, Prakhon Chai) Bronze

Standing Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future

The values to which Andrew Rogers inferred were to his Geoglyphs constructions. They are equally applicable, in my view, to form and art in general and;

“…can be contemplated from two points of view- the mythological subject and that of the beautifully constructed …… form which requires a concentration of great ingenuity to bring into being a form from which springs new life. We are carried over great time and space from ancient cultures and civilizations. It is an exploration of meanings and powers from the past and their meaning for the future. From an artefact of an ancient culture that has meanings and powers from the past, through to the unspoilt vistas that has meaning for the future.”


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Masks, c. 7000 BC
Photograph Elie Posner, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, New York ©The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Masks, c. 7000 BC


Andrew Rogers,Circles, 2005,, Cerro Rico Mountains, Bolivia

Form invites the onlooker to delve deeply within the image and in so doing;

“…create their own dimensions and find themselves in a special place that has been created.”

Andrew Rogers

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Andrew Rogers, Time and Space, 2009, Turkey

“Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”.)

René Descartes


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